To the Church in Exile,
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today’s meditation is from Danielle Merseles:
This Lent is turning out to be a trail through the wilderness for all of us.
When we prepared for Lent and chose a theme about “Divine Encounters in Surprising Places,” I never imagined the “Surprising Places” would look like this – isolation, sickness, fear, loneliness, disappointment. Since Sunday, I have woken up uncertain of what the news of the day will bring. I have often felt overwhelmed and anxious. What will tomorrow bring?
Today’s lectionary text includes some selections from Exodus 16 which speak to us about tomorrow.
Exodus 16:2-3:Exodus 16:2-3
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Here is a congregation that has just been set free from slavery. The preceding chapter is Moses’ victory song as he leads God’s people through the parted sea. Moments before, God has rescued them and now they are complaining. We are a people in the wilderness. Our city, country and world are full of people crying out for help in the midst of uncertainty. God answers their cries with grace and provisions.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “in the evening you shall know that is was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”Exodus 16: 4-8
I chuckled the first time I read this in light of the surprising place we are in right now. God’s answer to their cries was to provide for their needs. God tells them to take enough for the day. Meanwhile, here in Seattle, we are stockpiling all the toilet paper, hand sanitizer and disinfectant we can find for many days to come. We live in this space where we are constantly worried about tomorrow. I understand this as someone who struggles to trust and feels most comfortable in a space of safety.
Even right after God frees the Israelites from slavery, they still don’t trust God will provide for tomorrow. God’s response is not to withhold here, but it’s to patiently provide and offer such incredible grace to these children. God offers us enough. It doesn’t mean the wilderness isn’t disruptive or frightening or disappointing. God’s response is enough grace, enough compassion, enough love, enough attention to each of our longings.
Where do you need enough of God’s provision for today?
Jesus, may you show up, in a surprising place, in a surprising way with enough food for today. Enough love for today. Enough patience for our kids home from school today. Enough patience with our parents working from home today. Enough companionship for our loneliness today. Enough peace to calm our fears about finances today. Enough compassion for those around us in our city struggling today. Enough wisdom to make the next right choice today. Enough hope to survive today. Enough trust in you, our rescuer and redeemer. Jesus, make your presence known to each of us in the surprising place we find ourselves in today. Amen.
Peace in Christ,
Associate Pastor of Youth and Young Adults
cell | 908.930.8930